House debates

Monday, 9 September 2019

Statements by Members


4:10 pm

Photo of Stephen JonesStephen Jones (Whitlam, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

Last week the national accounts figures were released, showing that the economy is growing at its slowest rate since 2009. We now have a situation where the population is growing faster than the economy. This is a recipe for everything to go backwards. Indeed, wages have stalled, business investment is down, and even public sector investment, which has traditionally been the saviour of the day in circumstances like this, is down as well. Any government that was serious about managing the economy, and managing the economy in the interests of ordinary Australians, would have a plan to deal with wages, a plan to deal with faltering business investment, and a plan to deal with infrastructure and government investment. But instead of a serious plan being announced last week, what we had was a brain fluff about drug testing people who are on Newstart. The only thing wrong with the proposition is that it is an expensive smoke screen for the real problems that we are confronting in our economy, and the evidence from around the world is that it simply won't work. The biggest, growing group of people who are long-term unemployed—the men and women who worked all their lives but now find themselves out of work—deserve better than this.